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Archive for February, 2009

 

imgp1924For this recipe, the name should say it all…. mmmmmm! I saw Barefoot Contessa making these the other day and thought I just had to make them ASAP.  I mentioned to my sister how yummy they looked and she said she had just made similar cookies and got the recipe off of the bag of white chocolate chips. I knew I had a bag of of these in the cupboard, so this afternoon I grabbed it and got to work. I replicated the recipe exactly from the package of white chocolate chips, just omitting the salt. I’m going to bring these with me tomorrow when we celebrate my boyfriend’s birthday and his niece’s birthday. Everyone will love them! 

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 2/3 cup Baking Cocoa (I used Nestle)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 sticks butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 2/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 12 oz package white chocolate chips
Creaming the butter and sugars

Creaming the butter and sugars

 

Finished cookie batter

Finished cookie batter

 

 

 

 

 

 

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Combine flour, cocoa, and baking soda in a small bowl.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, beat together butter and sugars until creamy. Add vanilla, then eggs.
  4. Slowly add in flour mixture.
  5. Fold in white chocolate chips.
  6. Drop batter using a tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets.
  7. Bake for 9-11 minutes (mine needed 11 minutes). Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes and then transfer to wire cooling racks. 
Ready for baking!

Ready for baking!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Try one warm and you will be in heaven- the soft cookies will just melt in your mouth! Another way I plan to serve these is crumbled over ice cream- yummy!!!

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imgp1932I love eggs so much that I will eat them for breakfast, lunch, or dinner- it really doesn’t matter what time it is! My favorite thing to do is to make a big scramble with tons of veggies- and I’ll use whatever  I have in the house for veggies. This keeps it fun and interesting and I never get bored of it! One of my favorite things to eat with eggs is avocado. There’s something about the smooth and creaminess of it that just tastes so good to me with eggs. Sometimes eggs can be a whole meal alone- but if you are extra hungry like I often am, add your favorite type of carbohydrate to fill you up!

Ingredients:

  • 3 eggs, scrambled
  • Splash skim milk
  • 1/4 red pepper, chopped
  • 1/4 orange pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 avocado, sliced and cut into small pieces
  • 2 slices Swiss cheese
  • Butter
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 1 bagel, english muffin, or toast

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Directions:

  1. Chop red and orange peppers and place in a small bowl.
  2. Cut avocado and set aside.
  3. In a small bowl, break 3 eggs and add a splash of milk. Whisk together.
  4. Melt butter in a small frying pan at low-medium heat.
  5. Add egg mixture to frying pan. 
  6. Start toasting your bagel, bread, or english muffin.
  7. Check on the eggs- when you can tell the eggs are starting to cook, add in veggies and cheese. Stir everything together. Add salt and pepper and let cook, stirring occasionally to make sure everything is mixing together. When the cheese is completely melted in and looks gooey and yummy, it’s done!
  8. Spread your choice of bagel, bread, or english muffin with butter or jam (I like butter!) and add the egg scramble to your plate. Top the eggs with the avocado and enjoy!

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Yesterday was my boyfriend’s birthday! I won’t say how old he turned so he doesn’t get mad at me, but of course we had to celebrate it! He wanted me to make him pancakes before work, but that was a little too early for me, so I promised to take him to a nice dinner instead. Luckily, the girls that he works with treated him to breakfast so I was off the hook there! Thanks Ashley and Ellie! 🙂 

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Bloom has always been one of my favorite restaurants- I’ve been coming here ever since I moved to Colorado! Since it was restaurant week, dinner for two here was $52.80 + any drinks and extras that you might want. We did the 5280 menu and had to get calamari in addition to the 3-course dinner. Their calamari is the best we have ever had- and we love calamari! It comes with mizuna greens, yuzu vinaigrette, toasted sesame seeds. The calamari is crispy and doesn’t taste overly fried like it does in a lot of restaurants. Bloom is also known for their extensive wine list and they do wine flights where you get to have 3 small glasses of different wines. Mike chose a red flight and I chose a white. It’s fun to get to taste different ones and their prices for these are definitely reasonable. I also love their bread and butter- the bread is just a regular white bread, but their butter is mixed with herbs and is sooo yummy. I chose a salad with goat cheese, pears, and red wine vinaigrette for my first course and Mike ordered vegetable minestrone soup. For our main courses, we both ordered the bacon wrapped pork tenderloin. It came with mashed potatoes, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, and dried currants. It was absolutely delicious and I ate every last bite! For dessert, we ordered creme brulee- both of our favorites off of the menu. Since it was Mike’s birthday, they decorated around the rim of his plate with a happy birthday message. 

Bloom's Calamari

Bloom's Calamari... after we attacked it!

 

 

Pork Tenderloin

Pork Tenderloin

 

 

 

 

 

 

This was a fabulous meal all around. Our service was perfect- everyone was friendly, the food came out quickly, and we didn’t have to wait for our reservation. Everything was prepared perfectly and Bloom still remains one of my favorite restaurants to dine at! It’s definitely pricy, so we mostly just eat here on special occasions, but it is worth it for sure!

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Bday Creme Brulee!

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STUFFED!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For more information on Bloom, to see its menu, wine list, and to make a reservation, click here!

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Dipping the crust in their Italian dressing is the best!

Dipping the crust in their Italian dressing is the best!

If you have ever had Brick Oven Pizza on Kauai, you know what I mean when I say that it is hands down, the best pizza I have ever had.  The dough and sauce are a secret family recipe, and this along with the fresh toppings, garlic butter brushed crust (white or wheat) and the brick ovens that they bake them in, produce the perfect pizza, time after time.  Zoe and I have been going to Brick Oven (the original location is in Kalaheo where we grew up) since basically forever.  As kids, we would watch them make the pizza through the glass windows around the kitchen, playing with (and eating) the small balls of dough them would give us while we waited for our food. 

Auntie Joan watching over as her adorable nephews Kailer and Kekoa (the next generation in our family) enjoy Brick Oven for the very first time :)

Auntie Joan watching over as her adorable nephews Kailer and Kekoa (the next generation in our family) enjoy Brick Oven for the very first time 🙂

To this day, Brick Oven is a family favorite and one of the restaurants I make a point to go to almost each time I am home for a visit.  A new family now owns it, and they have opened another restaurant on Kauai’s East side, but the quality of the pizza hasn’t changed a bit.  The next time you are on Kauai, if you don’t get around to eating at Brick Oven you’ve done yourself a huge disservice.  Don’t want to stop to eat there?  Grab it to go – they will even tie it so that you can take it on the plane with you (I know this because we have friends in CA that their mom bring it to them whenever she visits!).

Don’t know what to order?  Everything is great, but my favorites are the pupu (appetizer) pizza, the veggie pizza, the supreme is to die for, and the canadian bacon and tomato is also delicious!  Not in the mood for pizza?  They also have tasty sandwiches and salads as well.

Open: Tues-Sunday from 11 a.m. until 10 p.m. and Monday night for dinner from 4 p.m. until 10 p.m.

Kalaheo: 2-2555 Kaumualii Hwy., Kalaheo, Kauai – 808-332-8561

Wailua: 4-4361 Kuhio Hwy, Kapaa, Kauai – 808-823-8561

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imgp18832This is another recipe from guess who, Mom! She’s actually in Hawaii right now and I kept calling her and bugging her with questions tonight while I was making it. I’m very lucky though, because even though she is in paradise right now, she picked up every single one of my calls and answered everything I asked her. There are a lot of steps to this recipe, but its not complicated at all. It originally calls for vermicelli noodles, but I didn’t have any, so used some thin whole wheat spaghetti that we had- delicious! I didn’t even notice the difference. This is a large meal, so it would be perfect if you are entertaining a large group or just want leftovers. After dinner, I put most of what was left in a huge tupperware and then made mini-tupperwares for my boyfriend to bring for lunch this week.

The ingredients...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ingredients:

  • 3 large or 4 small chicken breasts (cooked) and cut into bite sized pieces 
  • 1/4 pound butter (1 stick)
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 bunch green onions chopped (I used 4 green onions)
  • 1 chopped green pepper
  • 1/2 pound mushrooms sliced (1 small 8 oz package)
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley chopped
  • 4 ribs chopped celery
  • 1 cup 1/2 and 1/2
  • 1 cup chicken broth (use this straight from the chicken that you coo above)
  • 2 TBSP of white wine or cooking sherry (I like sherry best)
  • 1 TBSP lemon juice
  • 2 TBSP flour
  • 1 package of vermicelli or thin spaghetti noodles
  • 1 cup grated parmesan cheese (more if you like)

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Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cook chicken breasts in a large pot in boiling salted water. This took me about 45 minutes. When chicken finishes cooking, let it cool and then cut it into bite-sized pieces. Set it aside.
  3. While chicken is cooking, prepare your veggies and set them aside.
  4. In a large frying pan, melt one stick of butter and sauté the garlic, green pepper, green onions, mushrooms and celery for  about 10 minutes.
  5. Add the 2 tbsp of flour and blend into the vegetables. 
  6. Add the chicken pieces to the vegetable mixture, the 1 cup chicken stock, lemon juice and sherry or wine and blend until smooth and bubbly. 
  7. Add salt and pepper to taste and then the 1/2 and 1/2. Do not boil the sauce after the 1/2 and 1/2 is added. Add the parsley at the very end and set aside.
  8. Cook pasta al dente in boiling water or stock. The vermicelli cooks faster than regular spaghetti so watch it carefully!
  9. Drain pasta and spread on the bottom of a shallow buttered casserole. Pour chicken mixture over the vermicelli and sprinkle generously with parmesan cheese. 
  10. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 – 25 minutes.

Serve with salad and crusty french bread.

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Before cooking...

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Ready to eat!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Note- I wanted to be a little creative so I did two layers of pasta and sauce instead of the traditional way chicken tetrazzini is made. So, after buttering my casserole dish, I did one layer of spaghetti, one layer of the chicken/veggie sauce, one layer of parmesan cheese, then repeated each of those again. I just thought this would be fun to try and it turned out fabulous! If you do this, just eyeball your ingredients to make sure that you are assembling them evenly. Try it and let me know what you think!

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Ever since I discovered the farmers market at Kapiolani Community College (which is up the street from my house) I go religiously every single Saturday morning I can make it.  Rumored to be the very best one on the island, this farmers market is complete with flowers and produce galore, an incredible variety of food and beverage vendors that are to die for, and a million little  locally made items in between.  Call me crazy, but no matter how late I have been up the night before, I set my alarm for 6:50 a.m. each Saturday and I am up, fighting for a parking space and a spot in line to my favorite flower stand by 7:10 at the latest (I am extra early during gardenia season…).  They start selling “officially” at 7:30 when an air horn blares, but you have to get there early in order to beat all of the little old ladies (who are tough cookies I tell you) to the good stuff!  Case and point, for months I wondered why every time I went, even before it officially started, all of the most beautiful orchids were always already “pre-sold” until I found out that the little old ladies would get there at like 6:30, before the sun is even up, to reserve them!  So the next week I went super early and, of course, the orchid guy wasn’t there that week….just my luck!

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My love for the KCC market is multifaceted… For one, you can’t beat the breakfast selection – I always get the fried green tomatoes and zucchini with a lime wasabisauce, followed by a freshly cooked beignet covered with a blanket of powdered sugar and drizzled with fresh lilikoi sauce, all washed down by a ginger-mint cooler and, if I have room, mochi wrapped around a fresh strawberry and azuki bean filling…..hungry yet?!?  It is also really important to me to buy local…not only does it support the farming community here in Hawaii, it also means my food is fresher and many times organic which is a great plus.  Also, the people watching is amazing (it is always SO packed) and you can’t beat the gorgeous orchids that they sell for a mere $7 a piece (I have a slight problem with buying 3 and 4 of these at a time almost every week).  If you can’t make it to the KCC market (it is open until 11:30 a.m. every sat if you can’t make it as early as I do!) I encourage you to find out where there is a market in your neighborhood and check it out! 

  • Looking for a great bag/basket to take with you so you don’t have to use plastic bags?  Visit the Garnet Hill site to find one like I have!
  • Don’t know what to do with all of the great items you can find at the farmers market?  See if your’s sells a cookbook like the KCC one does.  Ours has a ton of great recipes using all of the fresh, seasonal items you will find at our markets here in Hawaii.

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The dining room and salad bar in the background

The dining room and salad bar in the background

Last night, February 21, kicked of Restaurant Week in Denver. Since Denver is the mile high city, this means that participating restaurants charge $52.80 for diner for two, or $26.40 for dinner for one. We went to Texas de Brazil, which is a popular Brazilian steakhouse in Denver, with a group of 8 for a 7:15pm reservation. When we arrived, the restaurant was PACKED. I had never been there before so didn’t really know what to expect. We thought it would be crowded since it was the first night of restaurant week, but I didn’t expect it to be as crowded as it was. The line of people was overflowing out the door and once we got in, the entire waiting and bar areas were just as full. We were happy that we had a reservation, but it turned out that didn’t really matter! It took a few minutes to find our friends within the chaos and when we did, decided to get some drinks! That was another story… it probably took about 30 minutes to even get to a bartender, but once I had a drink in hand, I really didn’t mind waiting. We were chatting with some other people while waiting in line and found out that even with a reservation, most people were still waiting an hour and a half to be seated. I was so excited to be eating at the restaurant and for such a great price I probably would have waited two hours!

 

Mike and Steve

Mike and Steve

Around 9pm and a few drinks later, we finally got seated. Walking past the enormous circular salad bar, I could not wait to load up a plate with yummies. We also saw servers walking by with huge spears of meat that they serve to you right at your table. After we were seated, we immediately hit the salad bar. Their salad bar is famous for having 50 different items to choose from, everything from cheeses to sushi to grilled vegetables, crostini, meats, and more and more and more! In addition to the multitude of meats that they serve and slice for your table side, there is also fried plantains, garlic mashed potatoes, and little cheese rolls at your table. Halfway through my plate of salad and assorted cuts of meats, I started to get full. But everything tasted so good that I just could not stop eating it. Our meal also included dessert, either key lime pie or bananas foster pie. I was honestly so full that I had to pass on dessert- I was afraid it would set me over the edge. No one was able to finish their desserts, but did say that they were delicious.

 

This is just the food from the salad bar!

This is just the food from the salad bar!

Overall, I loved this restaurant. It was definitely worth the wait and the everything I ate was absolutely fabulous. I would like to let people know that it is A LOT of food- so if you plan to go, eat light during the day and plan not to need to eat for a few days after… just kidding! ☺ For more information on Denver Restaurant week and for participating restaurants and menus, click here. I noticed on the site that many restaurants are extending the festivities until March 6th , so check out the list and definitely make a reservation before dining!

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